Genesis 31:43
And Laban answered and said to Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that you see is mine: and what can I do this day to these my daughters, or to their children which they have born?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(43) Laban answered . . . —Laban does not attempt any reply to Jacob’s angry invectives, but answers affectionately. Why should he wish to injure Jacob, and send him away empty? All that he had was still Laban’s in the best of senses; for were not Rachel and Leah his daughters? And were not their children his grandsons? How was it possible that he could wish to rob them? He proposes, therefore, that they should make a covenant, by which Jacob should bind himself to deal kindly with his daughters, and to take no other wife; while he promises for himself that he would do Jacob no wrong. Jacob therefore sets up a large stone, as a pillar and memorial; and Laban subsequently does the same; while, probably between the two hills on which they had severally encamped (Genesis 31:25), they collect a large mass of other stones, on which they feast together, in token of friendship (Genesis 26:30).

Genesis 31:43-44. All is mine — That is, came by me. Let us make a covenant — It was made and ratified with great solemnity, according to the usages of those times. 1st, A pillar was erected, a heap of stones raised to perpetuate the memory of the thing, writing being then not known. 2d, A sacrifice was offered, a sacrifice of peace-offerings. 3d, They ate bread together, jointly partaking of the feast upon the sacrifice. This was in token of a hearty reconciliation. Covenants of friendship were anciently ratified by the parties eating and drinking together.31:43-55 Laban could neither justify himself nor condemn Jacob, therefore desires to hear no more of that matter. He is not willing to own himself in fault, as he ought to have done. But he proposes a covenant of friendship between them, to which Jacob readily agrees. A heap of stones was raised, to keep up the memory of the event, writing being then not known or little used. A sacrifice of peace offerings was offered. Peace with God puts true comfort into our peace with our friends. They did eat bread together, partaking of the feast upon the sacrifice. In ancient times covenants of friendship were ratified by the parties eating and drinking together. God is judge between contending parties, and he will judge righteously; whoever do wrong, it is at their peril. They gave a new name to the place, The heap of witness. After this angry parley, they part friends. God is often better to us than our fears, and overrules the spirits of men in our favour, beyond what we could have expected; for it is not in vain to trust in him.Laban, now pacified, if not conscience-stricken, proposes a covenant between them. Jacob erects a memorial pillar, around which the clan gather a cairn of stones, which serves by its name for a witness of their compact. "Jegar-sahadutha." Here is the first decided specimen of Aramaic, as contradistinguished from Hebrew. Its incidental appearance indicates a fully formed dialect known to Jacob, and distinct from his own. Gilead or Galeed remains to this day in Jebel Jel'ad, though the original spot was further north.40. in the day the drought … and the frost by night—The temperature changes often in twenty-four hours from the greatest extremes of heat and cold, most trying to the shepherd who has to keep watch by his flocks. Much allowance must be made for Jacob. Great and long-continued provocations ruffle the mildest and most disciplined tempers. It is difficult to "be angry and sin not" [Eph 4:26]. But these two relatives, after having given utterance to their pent-up feelings, came at length to a mutual understanding, or rather, God influenced Laban to make reconciliation with his injured nephew (Pr 16:7). He pretends that to be an act of his natural affection and kindness which was indeed the effect of his fear. And Laban answered and said unto Jacob,.... Not denying the truth of what he had said, nor acknowledging any fault he had been guilty of, or asking forgiveness for it, though he seemed to be convicted in his own conscience of it:

these daughters are my daughters: though thy wives, they are my own flesh and blood, and must be dear to me; so pretending strong natural affections for them:

and these children are my children; his grandchildren, for whom also he professed great love and affection:

and these cattle are my cattle; or of my cattle, as the Targum of Jonathan, sprung from them, as indeed they did:

and all that thou seest is mine; all this he observed in a bragging way, that it might be thought that he was generous in not insisting upon having it, but giving all back to Jacob again:

and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born? I cannot find in my heart to do them any hurt, or wrong them of anything, and am therefore willing all should be theirs.

And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
43. my daughters] Laban’s reply, consisting of the claim of complete parental control over Leah and Rachel and their children and their husband’s flocks, is no sort of reply to Jacob’s complaint.Verses 43, 44. - And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, - neither receiving Jacob's torrent of invective with affected meekness (Candlish), nor proving himself to be completely reformed by the angry recriminations of his "callous and hardened son-in-law (Kalisch); but perhaps simply owning the truth of Jacob's wants, and recognizing that he had no just ground of complaint (Calvin), as well as touched in his paternal affections by the sight of his daughters, from whom he felt that he was about to part for ever. These daughters - literally, the daughters (there) - are my daughters, and these (literally, the) children are my children, and these (literally, the) cattle are my cattle; and all that thou seest is mine. Not as reminding Jacob that he had still a legal claim to his (Jacob's) wives and possessions (Candlish), or at least possessions (Kalisch), though prepared to waive it, but rather as acknowledging that in doing injury to Jacob he would only be proceeding against his own flesh and blood (Calvin, Rosenmüller, Gerlach, Alford). And what can I do this day unto these my daughters, - literally, and as for (or to) my daughters, what can I do to these this day? The LXX., connecting "and to my daughters" with what precedes, reads, καὶ πάντα ὅσα σὺ ὁρᾷς ἐμά ἐσι καὶ τῶν θυγατέρων μου ( <ΒΤΤ·Ξομμενταρψ Ωορδ>or unto their children which they have born? - i.e. why should I do anything unto them An ego in viscera mea saervirem (Calvin). Now therefore literally, and now, νῦν ο΅υν (LXX.) - come thou, - לְכָה, imperf., of יָלַך- age, go to, come now (cf. Genesis 19:32) - let us make a covenant, - literally, let us cut a covenant, an expression which, according to partitionists (Tuch, Stahelin, Delitzsch, et alii), is not used by the Elohist until after Exodus 14:8; and yet by all such authorities the present verse is assigned to the Elohist (cf. Keil's 'Introduction,' part 1. § 2, div. 1. § 27) - I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.

CHAPTER 31:45-55 As Laban found nothing, Jacob grew angry, and pointed out the injustice of his hot pursuit and his search among all his things, but more especially the harsh treatment he had received from him in return for the unselfish and self-denying services that he had rendered him for twenty years. Acute sensibility and elevated self-consciousness give to Jacob's words a rhythmical movement and a poetical form. Hence such expressions as אחרי דּלק "hotly pursued," which is only met with in 1 Samuel 17:53; אחטּנּה for אחטּאנּה "I had to atone for it," i.e., to bear the loss; "the Fear of Isaac," used as a name for God, פּחד, σέβας equals σέβασμα, the object of Isaac's fear or sacred awe.
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